15 Good Audition Songs for Altos | Musical Theatre

Hello my name is Betsy and I’m a singing
teacher at TakeLessons. Today we’re going to talk about some of the best audition
songs for Altos in musical theatre. We’ll cover a mix of Broadway, Disney,
and classical songs as well as which songs you should have avoid because
they’re overdone in auditions. So stay tuned and don’t forget to click our link
in the description box to try our free online singing classes. So in choosing a
good audition song for an alto it’s important to realize what you’re
auditioning for first of all and what voice type you are second of all. There
are a lot of songs out there that are written for huge belting Altos and just
really showstoppers but there are a lot of songs out there that are written for
a softer alto voice. So let’s say you’re a younger Alto and you want to show off
maybe that you’re developing into a belter. Johnny one note is a great
song, has a number of B flats right in the middle of that range. That’s not too
high. It’s a good idea to take a look at yourself and realize your personality. Am I the funny lady, am i a comedian? Maybe I wouldn’t choose a song that’s more
serious or a ballad; I would choose something that’s fun or I can kind of
act out. If I’m maybe more reserved and shy I might go with something that’s a
little bit more a ballad or something that I can kind of take my time with.
There’s a lot that you can choose from from the alto songbook too that haven’t
been done over and over and over again and you can kind of incorporate your
personality a little bit more into that audition.
So if you are a younger Alto it’s important not to do something that’s so
overdone like Rain on my parade or Defying gravity. A younger Alto just
doesn’t have the lung support and the diaphragm control to do that like a
professional singer in their 30s or 40s would. You’re gonna create vocal
strain, you’re gonna hurt your vocal cords. It’s really important to work with
a teacher and pick something that is appropriate for your voice, especially as
its developing, isn’t gonna hurt it. Just because it’s a pretty song and you like
to sing along with it in the car doesn’t necessarily make it a good
audition song especially if that’s not the voice type that you’re bringing to
the stage. So we had talked about things not to do – don’t sing Rain on my parade –
but one that you could do is The music that makes me dance. It’s a beautiful
song from the same show, people are familiar with it but again it’s not
overdone and it isn’t owned by a different character. Another good one
would be Wherever he ain’t from Mac and Mabel. This is a great score, again a show
that’s done but it’s not overdone, probably the director knows it but isn’t maybe done it in the last ten years, and probably no other young Altos are
going to be singing it, so it would be a good choice for you.
Another fun song that would show off your sassy side would be How about a dance.
It was from Bonnie and Clyde. The show itself didn’t really take off and so
it’s possible that another person wouldn’t be auditioning with that.
Fortune favors the brave from Aida would be a nice choice if you want to
mix a little bit more of that classical tone into your audition. It’s not that
ragtime up tempo, so if you want to go for a role that’s more like that, that
would be a great song to use at an audition. Another fun one if you’re
auditioning for kind of a femme fatale is think of Grease. There are worse
things I could do is a great song to audition with; it really lets your
personality show. You can be a little bit sassier in there and kind of show off
that side. If it’s an older or more of a belting
role – A mother doesn’t matter anymore from Bye Bye Birdie, something that’s
gonna really be a showstopper, show off that big belting range that you have, use
your chest voice, really just let it all out.
I like to recommend Somewhere from West Side Story because it’s not done as much
as the other songs so again you’ll stand out a little bit and you will kind of be
able to show off your range. If you’re a soprano who can belt it’s good to
audition for belting roles but if you’re a mezzo or an alto with the range it’s
great to show off your higher notes because that might put you in a
different place in a director’s head. So there are great songs in the Disney
songbook that are perfect for Altos or young Altos to audition with. Poor
unfortunate souls from Ursula is fantastic because you can really show
off if you have comedic chops or kind of act it out or just get that villainous
type vibe going. Pocahontas’ Colors of the wind, Just
around the Riverbend aren’t done as much as songs like Frozen and Moana, so it’s
gonna set you apart, especially as a younger actor. Another good one would be
the role of Megara from Hercules. The song by Susan Egan. She sings I won’t
say I’m in love and that’s a great song because it’s not that light bright
soprano soubrette role that everybody else is going to be auditioning with. So as an alto auditioning for something
more classical you have to realize one of two things – if it’s going to be a
musical theatre you can look for kind of an alto or something that’s going to be
a mixed belting role or maybe a little bit more lyrical but also you have to
realize that as a classical singer you’re probably going to be looking for
a mezzo-soprano piece. Mezzo soprano and contralto are the operatic or classical
terms for what an alto or a belter would be for musical theater so it’s the same
voice type. It’s the same vocal range they’re just called different things so
don’t be afraid to sing a mezzo soprano piece thinking that you’re an alto,
In choirs you’re listed as an Alto, in opera you’re listed as a mezzo soprano,
so you do have the range and you can sing something like that. There are a
number of roles in opera that are written for young women to perform but
they’re actually male roles so it’s called a pants role. Pants roles are
great for auditions so if you want to find something, Mozart did it a
lot. Those are great for auditions and they would be right in your range. One would be Voi che sapete from The Marriage of Figaro which would be
wonderful for a young mezzo soprano to sing. It wouldn’t push your range, would
be great. Another one would be from Vanessa and it’s Must winter come so
soon? That’s a great one because it’s in English and Barber wrote it so it’s an
American composer. If you’re a young aspiring classical singer maybe not
tackling a different language would be very helpful. Another one that’s in
English would be from Percel. When I am laid in earth from Dido and Aeneas is a
great song just because again you’re not going to be tackling a different
language and a new style of singing. Just some general tips for having a good
audition as an alto – it’s know your voice type. Are you a strong belter? If you are,
show that off. It’s great to have those big notes and really be able to let them
wale at the end. It’s really important to realize where your breaks are, to study
with a voice teacher so you’re not straining your vocal cords and you’re
belting properly. If you have a softer voice choose those ballads, choose
something that’s going to maybe show off your acting ability rather than if you
don’t have a big belting range. If you do have
higher notes choose something that shows those off, do something that goes up into
your head voice or does that quick switch from a mixed belt into your head
voice. It’s important that you realize where your strong points are and show
that because you only have 32 bars to let them know exactly what you’re
capable of. The other thing is you really want to paint yourself into the role
that they want to see. So are you being the funny lady, are you being cast as the
lead, is the lead in Alto? You want to give the director exactly what they
need to see to put yourself in that position and get cast as that role. Can
you think of any other good audition songs? Leave a comment and let us know. And
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